Experimental India Pale Ale Style
- Color: Pale to very dark, varying widely with ingredients used
- Clarity: May range from clear to very high degree of cloudiness. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds can contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category
- Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium-low malt aroma and flavor may be present, and may exhibit attributes typical of various adjuncts and specialty malts
- Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin
- Perceived Bitterness: Low to very high
- Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are low to high and may contribute to an overall highly fruity impression regardless of the presence or absence of fruit(s) used and can contribute to the perception of sweetness and be complementary to the hop profile. Yeast choices can vary widely as can sensory outcomes; very low to low phenolic or other attributes typical of wine, champagne or Brettanomyces yeast strains may be present but are not required. Carbonation can range from average to high, with higher levels often associated with a crisp mouthfeel. Diacetyl and DMS should not be present.
- Body: Very low to medium, depending on grist and yeast choice, enzymatic treatment, finishing adjunct(s) and other fermentation parameters. Mouthfeel can vary widely from light to full and from dry to silky.
- Additional notes: Beers in this category recognize the cutting edge of American IPA brewing. Experimental India Pale Ales are either 1) any of White, Red, Brown, Brut or many other IPA or Imperial IPA types or combinations thereof currently in production, and fruited or spiced versions of these, or 2) fruited or spiced versions of classic American, Juicy Hazy, and Imperial IPA categories. They range widely in color, hop and malt intensity and attributes, hop bitterness, balance, alcohol content, body and overall flavor experience. Black versions of India Pale Ale that do not meet the specifications for American-Style Black Ale may be considered Experimental India Pale Ale. Fruited and spiced versions exhibit attributes typical of those ingredients, in harmony with hop impression and overall flavor experience. Lactose may be used to enhance body and balance. Lactose should not lend to, or overwhelm, the flavor character of these beers. Classifying these beers can be complex. Wood- and barrel-aged entries which exhibit attributes of wood aging should be categorized as various wood- and barrel-aged beers. Within the framework of these guidelines, nuts generally impart much more ﬂavor than fermentables, and beers containing nuts are categorized as Field Beers. Likewise, within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is deﬁned as a vegetable, so entries containing coconut are categorized as Field Beers. Entries brewed with honey are categorized as Specialty Honey Beers. Spiced or fruited versions of these beers made with unusual fermentables are categorized as Experimental Beers as they represent a combination of multiple hybrid categories.
When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.
Experimental India Pale Ale Vital Statistics
- Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.100 (14.7-23.7 °Plato)
- Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 0.994-1.020 (-1.6-5.1 °Plato)
- Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-8.4% (6.3%-10.6%)
- Bitterness (IBU) 30-100
- Color SRM (EBC) 4-40(8-80 EBC)
2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association.
Credit: 2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines – Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ale – Experimental India Pale Ale